Chewy innovation on display at Sweets & Snacks

CHICAGO — The confectionery industry overcame tough comparisons to generate significant growth in 2021.

Combined chocolate and non-chocolate dollar sales increased from 2020 and improved from pre-COVID in 2019. U.S. confectionery sales reached $28.9 billion on the IRI market which includes grocery, mass, club, commissioners, convenience, drug and dollar stores. When other channels like bookstores, airports and vending machines are included, sales reached $36.9 billion, according to Euromonitor.

Dollar sales were boosted by inflation, but total chocolates and candies also improved in terms of unit sales and volume, making 2021 a banner year for the category, Anne-Marie Roerink said. , president of 210 Analytics, during a presentation at the Sweets & Snacks Expo, May 23-26 in Chicago.

“We envision absolute continued growth for all of the different areas of confectionery,” she said. “Part of that will be inflation, but I also believe candy will continue to be a recession-proof treat. We’re looking at total growth from about $37 billion in 2022 to about $45 billion. dollars in 2026.”

Chocolate won the largest share of confectionery sales in 2021, growing 9.2% to $16.7 billion. Non-chocolate products led the growth, with dollar sales rising 14.7% to $9.1 billion.

“Non-chocolate didn’t have a hugely successful 2020, but it resumed its role as a growth leader,” Ms. Roerink said. “It’s more associated with mobility and the amount of people moving around.”

Chewy candy fueled strength in the non-chocolate category, accounting for 50% of all non-chocolate sales in 2021, according to IRI data. Chewing candy sales increased 15% last year to $4.6 billion.

“There’s a lot of innovation on the show floor in gummies and chews,” Ms. Roerink said. “It’s hot. I’ve never seen something that’s half the category’s sales and grow 15%, but it’s still going strong year after year.

Chewable treats in the spotlight

New products from Ferrara Candy Co. layer multiple flavors onto a single candy. Launched in December 2022, SweeTarts Gummies Splitz are soft chewy candies offering six flavors per bag. Each piece is coated with a single fruit-flavored popping gum that “splits” to give consumers a sweet side and a tangy sour side.

“When we think about consumer trends, it’s multi-sensory, multi-flavor, multi-color, multi-texture,” said Greg Guidotti, chief marketing officer at Ferrara. “It really shows in the SweeTarts Gummies Splitz. It has the iconic shape but different flavors on each side. It is a very soft chewing gum. It has a good bounce and it’s different from other erasers you see.

Multiple flavors and textures are also featured in new products from Ferrara’s Trolli and Laffy Taffy brands. Available in early 2023, Trolli Sour Duo Crawlers feature a fruit-flavored sour gummy worm with a sweet side and a chewy side. The dual-textured candy comes in mango-pineapple, citrus-watermelon, and strawberry-guava combinations.

Laffy Taffy fruit combinations bring new flavor pairings to the brand’s classic mini-bar format. Available nationwide this fall, the chewy treats come in strawberry-kiwi, wild berry-banana, mango-passionfruit and strawberry-orange varieties.

Industry judges honored Ferrara’s Nerds Very Berry Gummy Clusters as the most innovative new product in Sweets & Snacks’ non-chocolate category. The line’s first flavor extension features a cluster of crunchy, tart, mini berry nerds with a fruity, gummy center.

Jelly Belly Candy Co. offers a new take on its classic candy flavors with Jelly Belly Belly Buttons. The bite-sized, button-shaped chewy candies come in popular flavors like cherry, grape, green apple, and blueberry. The company also showcased recent additions to its Cocktail Classic collection. New flavors were inspired by trendy alcoholic beverages like gin and tonic, mimosa and Moscow mule.

Bazooka Candy Brands is tapping into the demand for chewy textures with new Push Pop Gummy Pop-its. Launched in 2023, the edible entertainment includes strawberry, blue raspberry, berry blast and watermelon gummies that are dispensed in an interactive refillable container. Consumers open the lid of the container, pull it up, then push it back down to reveal soft, airy gum.

“The texture of the gum itself is unique,” ​​said Becky Silberfarb, vice president of brand marketing for the Americas at Bazooka. “We really tried to give it this nice, light, airy and squishy gummy texture. It’s not like a gelatin gum, but it’s not super dense either. It’s this beautiful intermediate texture.

Other items on display at Sweet & Snacks include Juicy Drop Dip N’Stix, runner-up in the New Product Showcase non-chocolate category, and Juicy Drop Remix, runner-up in the novelty/licensed category. Both products bring customizable experiences to the candy aisle.

Launched earlier this year, Juicy Drop Remix offers sweet and sour coated chewy bites in a portable dispenser. Featuring fruit punch, cherry berry, and “blue rebel” flavors, the dual compartment dispenser encourages consumers to create their own blend of flavors in every bite.

Juicy Drop Gummy Dip N’Stix includes a sweet gummy stick and an acid gel for dipping. The product went viral on TikTok after its launch last year.

“Juicy drop is this mix of sweet and sour and creating your own personalized experience,” Ms. Silberfarb said. “When it went viral, people were doing their own dips, whether it was how they dipped it, how much they dipped it, and even where they dipped it.”

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